Smoky Mountain Winter
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Tuckasegee River Excursion
Climb aboard one of the enclosed and heated train cars of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, NC. During the winter season, they offer an 11:00 a.m. trip on Saturdays. The Tuckasegee River Excursion is a 32-mile round-trip train ride that takes about 4 hours as you travel to the town of Dillsboro. You’ll have a 1 1/2 hour layover in historic Dillsboro to enjoy dining and shopping. Not only can you enjoy the beautiful western North Carolina countryside, you get to pass by the movie set of Harrison Ford’s The Fugitive. Choose from First Class, Crown Class and Coach Class seating. From Blue Mountain Mist it is a 1 hr 45 min scenic drive on 441 over the mountains and through Cherokee.
Alum Cave Trail Hike
Take a hike on the new and improved Alum Cave Trail. Be one of the first to check out the great works of the Trails Forever crew and volunteers who’ve spent the last two years rehabbing one of the Smokies’ most popular trails to Mt. LeConte Lodge. Wide and graceful native stone and timber stairs have replaced the rutted gulleys on the trail. Even if ice prevents a hike to the Bluffs, you can still enjoy a walk in the old-growth forest at the trail’s beginning off Newfound Gap Road. The ancient forest here boasts a thick under-story of 10-foot high, evergreen rosebay rhododendron, dog-hobble along with a variety of mosses and ferns.
Everyone knows Cades Cove is beautiful anytime of the year, but there is a special quietness to be found there during wintertime. Fill your thermos with some hot cocoa, pack a picnic, and take a drive around the 11-mile loop.
The Donut Friar in The Village, Gatlinburg
Early birds flock to The Donut Friar at 5:00 a.m. to gather up some of the warmest, tastiest donuts in the Smokies. The Donut Friar in The Village has been a fixture in Gatlinburg for generations. Just smell your way there and enjoy some time in the cozy, old-world atmosphere of The Village with 27 unique shops.
Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge
Built to half-scale of the original luxury liner RMS Titanic, the museum’s collection contains over 400 personal artifacts from passengers and crew and is valued at more than $4.5 million. A unique self-guided tour tells the stories of people who were part of Titanic’s fate. Visitors can walk an exact replica of the $1 million Grand Staircase, put their hands in icy waters of 28 degrees, and learn the history of world as it was in 1912. Prepare to spend a few hours here if you want to take it all in and read everything.